Brooklyn Black OPS | Brooklyn Brewery

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Brooklyn Black OPSBrooklyn Black OPS

Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brooklyn Black Ops (2008 commercially available version) was aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented in the bottle with Champagne yeast. 940 cases produced.


Added by RixBeer on 12-20-2007

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Reviews: 849 | Ratings: 2,400
Photo of Marius
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle sampled at a tasting. Dark pour, with a coarse espresso head. Smells of alcohol, milk chocolate, anise, champagne yeast. Tastes like sugar, milk chocolate and lactose - pretty underwhelming. Meium body and medium carbonation.

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Photo of GreatStoutman
3.26/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled Q4 2015. 11.6% abv... Was looking forward to this, but didn't care for it in the end.

Look is great; a dark oily pour with big, foamy three finger head that hangs out all night.

Smell is just like champagne to me, my wife (who usually had a better nose) says she just smells beer, which was weird. There are hints of bourbon and oak, but really not much.

Taste is okay at first, and I have to say that this was much better colder than when it warmed. But even so, the stout, bourbon, chocolate and coffee are nowhere to be found. Its just a light bubbly taste of kind of citrus and a little fruity. Toward the end of the bottle it gets astringent, and really not enjoyable.

Feel is highly carbonated, medium body, slightly oily. Eventually turns bitter and harsh.

Overall, this is one of the bigger disappointments I've come across. I really wanted to like this (especially since I picked up two bottles and have another that I'll be 'aging' for quite a while), but in eventually I ended up pouring out over half the bottle. I never do that, and I'm rather cheap, so to do it on a bottle this expensive was painful.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black color with brown head. Aroma is astringent, slightly alcoholic and a bit of chocolate and roast in the background. Taste is also pretty boozy, dry at first but the finish is fudgy with bourbon notes. Medium body and carbonation. Not bad but it's not what I would expect from a barrel aged imperial stout.

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Photo of Xenoreactive
1.42/5  rDev -65.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bad. Just bad. Thin. Muted flavors. Odd combination of champagne that merges with a bourbon nuanced... stout? Drainpour beer. Do not pay 18+$ for this garbage.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought at the release date in Sweden, February 19 - 2016.
750 ml bottle. Best before: September 2017. ABV: 11.6 %
Aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented in the bottle with Champagne yeast.

I've had this beer before. Last time at #Porterfestivelen in November 2015 and I know I wanted to get hold of a bottle at release.

The beer pours dark, dark brown - almost black with a huge five finger high, mocca-colored head.

Nose: Vanilla, bourbon, sweet licorice, oak, some smoke and roasted malt. Oh! This is SOOO beatiful!
Taste: Soft, silky smooth taste of vanilla, bourbon, oak, dark chocolate, molasses, roast coffee, ash and milk chocolate.
Mouthfeel: This is "pretty light" mouthfeel for an ABV of 11.6% - Still: Soft an creamy, light carbonation. Dry, sweet ending.

This IS a beatiful, tasty, smooth and GREAT beer but at a bit to high pricetag.
149 SEK for 75 ml that's 18 USD for 25 oz.

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Photo of Gables
2.47/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Smelled like wine. Thin and watery and way too boozy. Where is the beer? I was looking forward to this one and I struggled through one glass and then sadly a drain pour

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Photo of 911CROFT
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2014 Vintage: Blend #5 (11.6%)
750ml bottle into an oversized tulip. Paid £19.99 for a single bottle.

Pours a completely opaque, pitch-black body that is unchanged when held to the light. A two-finger in height, tan coloured bubbly head, maintained by masses of streaming carbonation eventually reduces to a dense foamy cap that slinks down the side of the glass leaving very little lace.

Big, sweet bourbon aromas undoubtedly dominate the nose. Noticeable underneath are plenty of heavily roasted dark malts, champagne yeast and hints of bittersweet dark chocolate and alcohol. Taste follows suit with huge notes of bourbon and vanilla sweetness leading the flavour profile upfront. Heavily roasted malts, smooth tangy acidic coffee bean and sticky dark fruits form the robust malty backbone and majority of the mid-palate. Small amounts of bittersweet chocolate and a trace of liquorice enter towards the end. In the mouth a slick, smooth and oily full-body is lifted by lively carbonation that despite not being to style, helps dry the palate towards the finish and counterbalance sticky residual dark fruit sweetness. Bourbon, vanilla, oak, coffee, and small amounts of dry roast linger for an age, while woody oak tannins and alcohol warmth finish with moderate astringency.

Overall this is a very good beer. It’s big, bold, characterful and unique, but certainly dominated by bourbon. As a bourbon drinker I don’t mind this, but even so, I would like to see more of the delicious Black Chocolate Stout base come through in the latter half. As good as it is, at nearly £22.00 for the current 2015 bottling it is by no means a cheap drop; I can’t see myself picking up another bottle unless it was for a very special occasion.

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Photo of mikeg67
5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle. Pours black with tall, long lasting, foamy brown head and nice lacing. Aroma is of bourbon, wood, smoke, coffee, toasted malt, dark fruit and some hops. Body is full and slightly crisp. Taste is of toasted malt, bourbon, toasted malt, brown sugar, coffee, vanilla, dark fruit, herbal hops and much more. Finish is long and very dry. Amazing brew.

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Photo of fx20736
4.01/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle diate says BQE Q4 2014. Poured nto a Duvel tulip at cellar temp.

Look: Black, mocha head that recedes to a thin film

Smell: Big Bourbon, some licorice,

Taste: Like the smell; boozy licorice. Not getting any coffee or chocolate

Feel: A little thin IMO

Overall: Hot and not enough flavor

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Photo of Furlinator
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2015.

Pours opaque pitch black with a thin tan head that quickly disappears completely and leaves no lace. The smell is of chocolate, oak, dark fruit, vanilla and booze. The taste follows with chocolate, sweet bourbon, dark fruit and a subtle smoked flavor. Thick and smooth texture. A solid bourbon barrel aged stout.

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Photo of ajm5108
2.56/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Pours an inky black with a decent mauve head which it maintains longer than you'd expect forva barrel-aged beer. Aroma is heavy on the bourbon notes (vanilla, oak) but also features a pretty strong yeast undercurrent which tones the booze smell but also makes it a tad funky. It's fairly thin for what you'd expect, and it isn't particularly balanced. There is a big bourbon wave upfront that features the stronger booze heavy notes (and less of the subtle vanilla or oak flavors) but that fades almost instantly, and the main body is just a pretty mediocre imperial stout (roasted malt, maybe a faint bitter cacao nib). The only consistent note is a stab of astringent alchohol throughout, is too reminiscent of some cheap $5 jug bourbon. Not every beer can tossed into a barrel & magically be great, and this is a great testament to that.

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Photo of Allen_A
3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad example of a bourbon barrel aged stout. its like a less mature version of BCBS. the bourbon notes are definitely pronouned in the nose, but the taste is less so. Its drier than most bourbon barrel stouts that ive tried, but still retains the alcoholic kick. if you're looking for a drier stout with sweeter aromas, this might work for you. but if you like your beers to follow the nose, this might underwhelm you to an extent.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours black with a tan colored head, some head retention, not seeing much carbonation, head is creamy and full of tiny bubbles, decent amount of lacing, looks like a solid beer.

A: Bourbon, vanilla, hint of toasted coconut, alcohol is coming through, hint of oak, overall, aroma is pretty subtle and straightforward.

T: Hint of bourbon up front, some oak, vanilla, picking up some of the champagne yeast, it's a grape like note, in the finish there is bourbon, some smokiness, some chocolate, coffee, alcohol comes through pretty strong leaving some heat in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, dry finish.

O: A little different than other bourbon barrel aged stouts, it has a slight sour/wine/grape touch to it in the middle, lots going on but I think it could use some more bourbon, for a RIS I was expecting some dark fruits, did not get them. It has some depth and complexity but it doesn't punch with flavor, it's very subtle.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.04/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

25.4 oz bottle at 42 degrees into snifter, allowed to warm to 55 degrees
Aroma of roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee; bourbon comes through as the temperature reaches 53 degrees
Head average (Three cm, aggressive pour), light brown, creamy, slooowly diminishing to a four mm ring and thin layer
Lacing - none
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor primarily alcohol with aftertastes of coffee; no vanillin, no hops, no chocolate, no diacetyl
Palate medium, creamy, lively carbonation

Appearance 4.25, Aroma 4.5, Flavor 3.75, Palate 4, Overall 4

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Photo of smanson56
4.04/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Took a bottle to a family Xmas gathering yesterday to share with my brother in law. He's a wine drinker and didn't care for this at all which was good all the more for me.
Pour a nice black color with a thin tan head. Lots of bourbon in the nose with some hints of chocolate and some yeasty aromas. The taste is mellow with some nice bourbon and chocolate. This beer is a little on the thin side with a little over carbonation IMO. The taste is good but the mouth feel lacks.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a teku.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown color - the pour itself looks a touch thin. The head is two fingers high and tan in shade. It has a very fluffy texture, almost similar to a Belgian-style beer. While the retention is nice, it doesn't seem to leave much lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell: Now THIS, this is interesting. I get some champagne qualities upon first whiff. After a bit of time, its base beer (Black Chocolate Stout?) shows up with heavy notes of earthy dark chocolate and fudge - there's also a distinct umami note lurking around. It takes a while for the bourbon barrel to show up, but it does after a while. The gentle vanilla, oak, and alcohol all add to the beer nicely. This smells like it will be a unique - and excellent - barrel-aged stout.

Taste: I really taste the champagne yeast at first imparting a decent Belgian-style tone (apples, pears, white grapes). It transitions into a fudgy, chocolaty flavor around the middle. Belgian yeast (err...champagne yeast) can actually embellish dark chocolate flavors when used right - and it ultimately does here. The finish is gently bourbon-esque, bringing a light toasted oak quality. Having said that, the barrel qualities aren't as nuanced as the finest barrel-aged stouts. Another nitpick: the yeast flavors tend to obscure the base beer and barrel notes occasionally. Still, this one is well-balanced and not sloppy in its complexity.

Mouthfeel: This one feels light and airy for the style -! I know, shocking. It's not fully dry, but it goes down well for 11.6%. Looking past the semi-slender mouthfeel, this feels nicely creamy on the tongue. Remember how I said airy? Though not intense, the carbonation gently scrubs the lingering sweetness off of the palate.

Overall: BCBS this is not. Parabola this is not. But this carves a niche for itself, easily. It's lighter and crisper than those two, with a distinct Belgian bend that meshes decently with the rest of the beer (though it could be restrained a bit more thoroughly). Shame it's so damn expensive, though...

3.95/5: I can see why it's polarizing; but personally, I think it rocks

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Photo of jtslpowley
3.67/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black Ops pours beautifully, however for me that's where it stopped. Too much of a punch on the front end with the carbonation ruined this one for me.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A: midnight black. Fine-bubbled brown head retains well, but eventually settles. It can always be revived with a swirl of the glass. Wispy and patchy lacing.

S: Dry bakers chocolate. Bourbon balls. The barrel has its stamp all over this, bringing great aromas of woody char, caramel, and sweet bourbon. Some earthy and leathery yeast. Sharp phenols and smoke as it warms. Hints of alcohol.

T: Bakers chocolate and semi sweet dark chocolate. Molasses sweetness up front. Heavy roast and French roast coffee dominate the mid palate. Barrel comes hot on the heels of the roast, bringing a lot of wood char and peppery bourbon. Yeasty and earthy flavors emerge as the palate adjusts. Figgy. Smokey phenols. Quick spike of alcohol toward the back. Smoke, bourbon, and trailing malt on the finish.

M: Full in body with a whipped creamy texture. Medium weight, it sits fairly lightly in the mouth. Fine-bubbled carbonation is very gentle, but it does provide a light loft and some tingling on the tongue.

O: The champagne yeast is an interesting wrinkle, and makes this a unique brew.

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.06/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour looks great. Pitch black with a decent brown head.

This does not smell good. It is a sour champagne with some dark roasted malts.

It only tastes a hair better. A lot of bret up front. Very, very sweet. Some dark roasted, ashy malts and some lingering bitterness.

A lively, crisp body. Pretty thin.

I know they advertise it as bottle conditioned with a champagne yeast, and it delivers there. However, as a Russian Imperial? Nope. I think my score is generous. I didnt really enjoy this at all.

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Photo of q33jeff
4.26/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle to snifter.Appearance: Dark black. Rich tan head. Aroma: very sweet. Bourbon, brown sugar, vanilla and coffee jump right out. Underneath is a toasty malt aroma.Taste: Strong bourbon and alcohol up front. Sour cherry and vanilla notes later. Warming.Feel: Thin for such a heavy beer. Carbonation lasts probably because it?s thinner. Astringent. Excellent beer, very complex. Only downside is that the bourbon flavor overshadows the stout.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.06/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from cork and cage bottle into snifter. The color is almost jet black with a creamy mocha colored head and lacing. The prevalent smell is caramel, coffee, chocolate, and bourbon. There is just enough bourbon smell but it's not overpowering. The taste is coffee forward with bitter chocolate, vanilla, and a decided champagne tartness at the finish. As the stout warms, the sourness increases. The bourbon is prevalent throughout and is quite hot. I tasted no dark fruit, which I like to have in an RIS. This is a medium-bodied, lightly-carbonated stout. The fermentation with champagne yeast creates a unique taste that sets it apart. You can definitely feel the 10.5% ABV and this is decidedly a sipper. Overall, it is quite good and I'm glad I sought it out.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

look: Not quite opaque dark brown. Some ruby/cola highlights when held to light. Big mocha head on the pour that mostly recedes.
smell: Big and bourbony. Some other RIS notes but bourbon dominates in this fresh version.
taste: Bourbon is still prominent but doesn't dominate. nice roasty char and dark chocolate balance the sweet vanilla bourbon.

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Photo of mabermud
4.26/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 Bottle poured into my best brandy snifter.

Look: The body appears dark brown and viscous. The head is mocha colored and appears fine and creamy. The lacing disintegrates into sheets of smooth and creamy broken curtains. Good looking lacing, legs, and movement down the sides of the glass.
Smell: The dominant aromas are of dark chocolate, medium roast, and yeast. Booze and barrel are definitely in the smell. Some sourness sticks out.
Taste: Nice. Champagne, bourbon barrel, medium roast, and dark chocolate. The champagne yeast combined with the barrel makes this a very unique beer, there is a good touch of sourness. Reminiscent of OK-Si.
Feel: Higher level of carbonation for an RIS. Bubbly? The ending has a nice creamy lather.

Overall - Nice drinking here. I did not expect this amount of bourbon and such a pronounced representation of the champagne in this RIS. I am pleasantly surprised. For me, this is very similar to OK-Si.

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Photo of IvoryFoxhole
3.84/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Blend 6 Q4 2014. Stored in beer refrigerator. Poured into teku glass.

Very dark with some cherry hints. Light tan 1 finger head which disappears quickly.

Smells of bourbon, coffee, tiny bit of the refermentation yeast

Taste is bourbon, coffee, vanilla, roasted malts. Oak and alcohol on the back end.

Too light bodied, fairly carbonated, too much alcohol burn on finish.

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Photo of iTunesUpdates
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4

This beer just isn't doing it for me. I was expecting a black as night beer. It poured with a red hue and looks nothing like it should. Very light bodied on the tong, almost porter like.

I wanted this to be think as anything and it did not deliver. Taste is ok but is overshadowed by the light feel which does not pair with such a big beer.

Granted I did age this for a bit so I will try another fresh and re rate as needed.

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Brooklyn Black OPS from Brooklyn Brewery
4.09 out of 5 based on 2,400 ratings.
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